Hisbits: Pyle, Sprague, and Lawson

Wikimedia Image
Wikimedia Image

When I think of the Andy Griffith show, I think of some roles individually, and others as a group. Of the groups, two that come to mind are Floyd and Goober, and Goober and Howard. In today’s #Hisbits, I would like to spotlight the actors behind the roles.Goober

George received a Bachelor Of Science degree in 1952. After that, he joined the Air Force, and later taught High School. He was accepted into the American Theater, and upon graduation from it, appeared in two Broadway plays. George decided to move to Los Angeles and to try television in 1962. Two years later, he would take the role that America fell in love with on the Andy Griffith Show, Goober Pyle.

[tweetthis]…you don’t have to prove how smart you are, instead, seek to share as much love and laughter with others as you can.[/tweetthis]

His other work included the Walt Disney company. He had animated roles in three different films, the Aristocats, Robin Hood, and the Rescuers. Lindsey would play the character of Goober in two other shows, Mayberry R.F.D. and Hee Haw. His last series as Goober would actually be the longest he ever played the mechanice. His work on Hee Haw spanned 1972 to 1992, twenty years.

George was as kind as the character, raising over 100,000 for the Alambama Special Olympics through seventeen years of a celebrity Golf tournament bearing his name. He also served as the Head Coach for the Winter Games in the Minneapolis, Minnesota Special Olympics National Competition. Lindsey setup the George Lindsey Academic Scholarships at University of North Alabama, his home state, as well as a film festival there.

The man famous for playing an uneducated, but kind hearted country bumpkin, proved something in the process. That was this, people may not only be much smarter than they appear, they can be even kinder than you first suspect. He embedded the same layering in the character of Goober Pyle, showing that you don’t have to prove how smart you are, instead, seek to share as much love and laughter with others as you can.


Every character on the Andy Griffith show had something unique to their costumes that fit their personality. From Andy’s lack of tie, to Barney’s constant wearing of it, to Goober’s hat, and Floyd’s barber’s coat, they all pointed to aspects of the character’s personality. For Jack Dodson’s Howard Sprague, it was the bow tie, the perfect prop for the lovable county clerk.

Andy himself chose Jack, after seeing him on broadway. He would return to the theatre in 1985, and to Howard Sprague on the reunion movie, Return to Mayberry. Before this, he was Ralph Mouth’s Dad on Happy Days.

My favorite Howard episode was the one where his quick thinking not only secured the local Church’s foundation, but the relationship of the people closest to him. Friends and family meant more than anything to the character of Howard Sprague. The same was true of Jack. While he played the perennial bachelor, the actor enjoyed a long marriage to art director Mary Dodson, from 1959 to his death in 1994. The bow tie loving everyman, quietly did his work, and faithfully cared for those around him.


To tv watchers, he was Floyd The Barber, but to radio listeners, Howard McNear was the first Doc Adams on Gunsmoke for nine years. His old friend, Parley Baer, later Mayor Stoner, was Chester on the radio show. McNear, a San Diego native, served in the Army Air Corps during World War II. After this, he came to prominence playing Clint Barlow on the radio serial Speed Gibson and the International Secret Police.

[tweetthis]Challenges may alter the way we do things, but they don’t have to stop us from doing them…[/tweetthis]

He was good in authoritative roles, but preferred comedy, and it fit him like a glove. In 1958, on Leave It To Beaver, he guest starred as a barber named Andy. Three years later, he would become Andy’s barber. A stroke forced him to first leave the show, but Andy asked him to return.

Even though it took the use of the left side of his body, the show made allowances for that. Any episode where you do not see Floyd walking, means that it was after the stroke. Even in those scenes where it showed Floyd standing, a frame was holding the actor up.

Disabilities are not easy, but Howard McNear proved they do not have to be either career, or life ending. Before and after the stroke, Floyd’s value to Mayberry was priceless. Challenges may alter the way we do things, but they don’t have to stop us from doing them, just ask Floyd.


In our life, we are blessed enough to be a part of certain groups. Some are families, teams, and organizations, the joy of them is the fact that we are all a part of something bigger than ourselves. Too often, we allow pride to sabotage great relationships for the spotlight. Aren’t you glad that Andy Griffith didn’t feel that way? Instead, he assembled a crew of people that did their best to make everyone shine, and in the process, each left behind characters that we will always remember.

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